NAHB Study Reveals the Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation

February 26, 2016

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has had a long history of tracking the evolution of home buyer preferences. Builders and other industry professionals now have an opportunity to find out what baby boomers want compared to other home buyers in Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers, a study recently released by NAHB's publishing arm, BuilderBooks.

Based on a comprehensive, nationwide survey of recent and prospective home buyers conducted in 2015, the study discusses how various designs influence the home purchase decision; the location, features and size of the homes consumers want, and the influence of certain events and people on the decision to move to another home.

"This survey is a great resource for building professionals, as it provides an inside look at the things boomers, and other generations, are looking for in today's homes," said Rose Quint, NAHB's Assistant Vice President for Survey Research, and one of the study's authors. "As the housing market continues to recover, more consumers are in the position to purchase a home, and it's important for builders to have this knowledge about their customers."

Here are some of the findings on what home buyers want:

  • The majority of all buyers (65%), and boomers in particular (63%), would like to buy a single-family detached home.
  • Most home buyers (64%) prefer a single-story home, but there is great variation by generation: Millennials (35%), gen X'ers (49%), boomers (75%) and seniors (88%).
  • Fifty-eight percent of home buyers want a full or partial basement, but the preference declines with age: Millennials (77%), gen X'ers (67%), boomers (50%) and seniors (43%).
  • When asked if they would buy a home without a living room, 37% of buyers say they would, 42% would not and 21% are not sure. The share of buyers willing to part with this formal space falls steadily with age: Millennials (43%), gen X (40%), baby boomers (37%) and seniors (26%).
  • And here are some of the findings on what most buyers do not want:
  • Few buyers (8%) or boomers (7%) prefer a central city location. About two-thirds prefer a home in the suburbs (close-in or outlying) and just over a quarter prefer a rural area.
  • Only 14% of buyers overall (and 13% of boomers) are willing to pay more for a home out of pure concern for the environment.

Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation is available for purchase ($149.95 retail/$79.95 NAHB member, ISBN 978-0-86718-748-9) at BuilderBooks.com or by calling 800-223-2665. The eBook is available at ebooks.builderbooks.com  ($89.99 retail/$55.99 NAHB member).

[Editor's Note: Editors who are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation to review for their publications should contact Patricia Potts at 202-266-8224 or ppotts@nahb.org]. 

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